The City of Toronto has issued a request for proposals to operate a 14,500 square foot light-manufacturing incubator in the downtown core.
The incubator will support entrepreneurs looking to bring products to market, and tenants will have access to mentors and advisors. It will be located in what the city calls North America’s first mixed-use light manufacturing and residential development, at the northwest corner of Queen Street West and Dufferin Street. The 60,000 square foot three-building development will include rental apartments and retail units.
“This is a unique way to keep manufacturing in the downtown core,” said Mayor John Tory. “Toronto has always been a place where people make things – and this is an evolution of that in a growing global city.”
Retaining the 60,000 square feet manufacturing space, and establishing the incubator, was part of the city’s agreement with Fitzrovia Capital for the development. The City is seeking proposals from not-for-profit or post-secondary institutions interested in establishing and operating the incubator. In support, the City will offer a range of benefits, including below-market lease rates, operating funds, and partnership development to engage other potential supporters.
“This development provides two important things for this part of the city,” said Deputy Mayor Ana Bailao. “It will increase the supply of much-needed rental housing, while also preserving employment uses that support manufacturing in the downtown.”
While there is no firm plan for the incubator yet, the City said that potential uses could include the merging of tech and hardware, micro-manufacturing for smaller-batch production areas like fashion, or artisanal ventures like woodworking.
Bidders are being asked to provide a business plan for the incubator and proposals for layout, programming support, access to advisors and mentors, shared production and co-working spaces, and efforts to help build a startup manufacturing community. Toronto said that its manufacturing sector is the largest in Canada, and represents nearly 13 per cent of Toronto’s economic output.
Proposals will be accepted until October 2018, and the City will select an operator for the light-manufacturing incubator by the end of December 2018.